Prominent Indiana Republican says he won’t vote for Trump

Longtime Indiana Republican John Mutz is voting for a Democrat for president this year, and he is encouraging his fellow party members to do the same.


Mutz, 84, a former lieutenant governor and state lawmaker, publicly announced his opposition to Republican President Donald Trump in a Viewpoint op-ed in Friday’s edition of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

“Character counts when evaluating a candidate,” Mutz wrote in the column. “President Trump fails to meet my preference for honesty, empathy, respect for those who are different, and a willingness to admit mistakes.”

Mutz, who served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Robert Orr from 1980-1988, is the most prominent Indiana Republican to publicly rebuke Trump. Mutz also served as a state representative from 1966-1970 and a state senator from 1970-1980.

“There’s a time when you’ve got to stand up and do what you think is right,” Mutz told IBJ in an exclusive interview.

In the column, Mutz describes Trump as someone who “has engaged in corruptive behavior and outright self-dealing.” Mutz said Trump has damaged relationships with U.S. allies, encouraged foreign meddling in elections, falsely claimed mail-in voting is not secure and deceived the public about COVID-19.

“I’m afraid we have damaged our credibility in the democratic countries of the world,” Mutz said. “We’re not looked upon by these allies as reliable. … I’m afraid if we had four more years, we would be all by ourselves.”

Mutz said his first breaking point with Trump was in July 2015 when Trump said he didn’t consider then-U.S. Sen. John McCain a war hero because he spent time as a prisoner of war.

“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said at the time.

“That was the first point where I really said, ‘Gosh, I just can’t deal with this,’” Mutz said.

He was pushed over the edge, he said, by Trump’s repeated attacks on the media, including calling the press the “enemy of the people.”

“I think that’s just an absurd statement, but I kind of think he believes that,” said Mutz, who has a degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. “He doesn’t like people poking around in his business.”

Mutz told IBJ he will vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, but he does not consider himself an advocate for Biden and admits Biden has taken a number of positions he disagrees with. He donated $1,000 to Biden on March 1, according to Federal Election Commission records.

“I’m still a Republican,” Mutz said. “I’ll vote for [Republican] Eric Holcomb for governor. But on this one race, I am greatly concerned. I would say almost scared.”

Mutz said he’s specifically worried that, if Trump wins reelection, the country will be headed toward an authoritarian state. And he’s concerned that, if Trump loses the election, the transfer of power will not be peaceful.

“It is very difficult to say these things about a Republican,” Mutz wrote in the column. “The party has been very good to me, supporting my political ambitions and encouraging me for more than 50 years. But the future of our country is more important than party loyalty.”•

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28 thoughts on “Prominent Indiana Republican says he won’t vote for Trump

  1. While everything he says is true and I’ve never liked Trump’s mouth including his John McCain comments, I have to look at the fact he’s gone from being an independent, rich businessperson who says’ whatever he wants to being more careful about what he says. He has grown into the job somewhat and I also look at his actions over his words. We didn’t elect a politician and after seeing what Washington is like the past four years I’m very glad of that. What a self serving partisan institution it is. Trump is far from perfect, but his actions reflect my beliefs and Biden would be fine if we were electing moderate Joe, but his declining abilities combined with the party’s strengthening far left have totally scared this independent away. Unfortunately I think the election will be close enough that neither side will concede and we are in for more chaos. Here’s to hope in 2021 for better times and we can get beyond all this politics.

    1. You start you comment with “while everything he says is true”. Mr. Mutz comments read:
      “This year, I am faced with a candidate who has engaged in corruptive behavior and outright self-dealing”.
      “…I believe the long-term damage Trump would do our democratic republic form of government is more worrisome than policy differences.”
      “Evil does prevail when good men and women do nothing. So, it is my conclusion that we must defeat Donald J. Trump and rebuild the Republican Party. Now is the time to come to the aid of our party and the United States of America.”

      Jeff I am honestly confused how you can agree with statements like this and then do the mental gymnastics to say something like “HIS ACTIONS REFLECT MY BELIEFS”. America deserves better and no matter how much you repeat the tired propaganda about Joe Biden’s ‘declining abilities’, DJT remains uniquely unfit to serve.

    2. Nate, you make good points and I don’t disagree with you. What I should have said is my beliefs align more closely these days with Republicans even though I’ve stayed an Independent because I don’t wholly endorse their positions. I miss the days of the country being center right or left. We had our differences, but certainly got along better. The growing divisions in this country have nothing to do with Trump or Biden and neither one can fix those divisions. Joe’s not going to appease the other 45-50% no matter what he says and no it’s not propaganda on his abilities. I’ve heard his gaffes with my own ears and why do you think he’s not campaigning his butt off. He’s not a sharp person anymore and yes that worries me. We will see because as I said I just feel it will be a very close election with neither side conceding. Trump or Biden winning doesn’t solve anything in this country when our beliefs are polar opposite.

    3. Trump has grown into the job, Jeff A? What planet are you living on.

      As far as Biden’s “declining abilities,” you’re just repeating Trump talking points. There is no evidence whatsoever that Biden’s mental acumen has “declined,” and, regardless, he’s a million miles ahead of Trump when it comes to mental ability.

      I’m a lifelong Republican and I 100% agree with John Mutz.

    4. Oh, and the notion that Trump was a “rich businessman,” what nonsense. Trump was a complete failure in business. He led his companies into bankruptcy six times. Up until he was elected President, the only thing Trump was successful in was becoming a reality show star. And as a President, he’s been a complete failure.

  2. I don’t disagree with many of the criticisms of DJT, but I think the IBJ shows its liberal tendencies by (1) featuring a former Republican politician who last served in 1988(?!) – 32 years ago, and (2) perhaps recognizing the weakness of that spotlight, adds the “BTW” parenthetical add to the story summary.

  3. I am grateful that a well-known member of the Republican Party in Indiana is willing to stand up and acknowledge the threat posed by Donald Trump. I too have been a life-long Republican, but I will not vote for Donald Trump for all the reasons stated by John Mutz. I am embarrassed to be associated in any way with the current Republican Party. Until now it has been like the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, with no one willing to stand up and say “Donald Trump is naked.” I only hope and pray that we do not end up in rioting and chaos following the election. The best way to assure a peaceful transition is for Joe Biden to win a resounding victory. So voters who love our country should follow John Mutz’s brave example and speak out against Donald Trump and vote for Joe Biden.

  4. Memo to IBJ. Keep following in the footsteps of the Indy Star and your subscriptions will be going in the same direction. Wake up.
    Mutz? He voted for Hillary and now Biden?
    Stop using R behind your name unless you follow it with INO. You’re like John Kasich. Just go away man. Your 15 Minutes was up 20 years ago.

    1. So you’re saying that the Republican party is now Trump’s alt-right party? All traditional Republicans are no longer wanted? That’s sad. At least Democrats are still able to embrace moderates like Joe Biden. They could have gone radical and picked Bernie. I’ll be a happy Democrat if people like you are successful and push all moderate Republicans to the Democratic Party. We’ll be winning for decades to come.

    2. +100 – At least Trump wont take us to socialism, tax us to death, send our manufacturing jobs overseas, destroy our energy independence by eliminating fracking as well as thousands of jobs, shut us down again for COVID, OR engage in self-dealing for his son, Hunter, with Russia, China and who knows what other countries. For god’s sake man, wake up!

      We understand you have been in a rocking chair for a good decade, so just stay there and be quiet while business people get the job done.

      Mutz is not a republican – if he can support the Biden policies, he is not a Republican. The fact that he gets an opinion piece + an article about it shows the left leaning IBJ for what it is.

    1. what a joke! The only graft and corruption is the Biden family. Trump takes no salary, has been under constant investigation since his first day in office and none of the charges have been found to be true. Biden can’t even say a coherent thought. So Kamala will take over and here we go down Bernie street.

  5. It’s hard to believe that so little is known or said about Joe Biden’s manifold faults, limitations, and outright dishonesty. The man has dementia and barely knows where he is going or what he is doing from day to day, yet RINOS will stand against Trump just to get their name in the news one more time. Pathetic, all of them, to the person. (Well said, John C.)

  6. And what is so “prominent” about John Mutz, anyway? I mean, what has he done for Indiana or the Republican party in the last three decades?

    Here’s a clue about what the party has done for HIM, however, as he says, “The party has been very good to me, supporting my political ambitions and encouraging me for more than 50 years.” Swell.

    1. After his political career, John Mutz was also President of Lilly Endowment for 5 years – which has and continues to do much for Indiana and the country. So that’s kind of “prominent”, right?

  7. SMH. Some people just won’t vote for what is good for this country! He is mad about a guy who has sadly passed away. He may not realize the Dems are equally as rough and tough adn say many many things that are nasty – and they play dirty pool. Anything to win. Spy on the incoming administration and do everything you can to make it fail, including Impeachment? Yeah. Blow up the Senate? Why not? Pack the courts? Sure! Anything to win for the Dems. And he is mad about McCain.

    Why do we keep having to explain this?’

  8. I am amazed at the people here that will support Trump, despite 200,000 people are dead because he thought it was better to lie about the virus. It is almost a shame that so many people have bought into the continuously repeated lies that “Main Stream Media” can’t be trusted and even call IBJ a leftist rag.

    I don’t know how to help these people that have gotten sucked into the right wing media machine and don’t know how much they are being manipulated by the continuing repetition that everything that does not confirm their world view is “Fake News”.

    If your brother tells you a really big fib that can easily checked with your parents, but he tells you “Mom and Dad are going to lie”. Who benefits from a statement like that? Then ask yourself if somebody keeps telling you everything you pretty much could have trusted before is “Fake News”, who is going to benefit? If you have bought into even a little part of the “Fake News” idea, it is really hard to know who to believe, but I suggest you get some counseling, or talk to a mentor, or somebody else you trust, because you are being manipulated and you need some help.

    Realize that somebody has been lying to you, and it is for their gain and not yours.

    1. Dan, the thought that you consider the media as ‘MOM & DAD” says it all. The media is supposed to report, not champion.

  9. Gov. Mutz, you will be on the right side of history, and I hope your Republican colleagues wake up and join you before it’s too late. Come on Gov. Eric, Mitch, Al, Kyle, Randy and others. Act like a Republican, not a Trumplican.

  10. John Mutz? Talk about a history lesson. It’s good to see a second person in the Mitt Romney faction. That is the fast path to sitting on the outside and crying for attention from the Indy “Red” Star.

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